The Dallas Mavericks wrestled an early lead from the Orlando Magic Tuesday night in Dallas, and never gave it back.
Some sloppy miscues in the first couple of minutes of action had some observers thinking we might get a repeat of February 19th's lackluster affair in Orlando, but the Mavs quickly put an end to that. They scored 35 in the fist and 69 in the first half en route to a 121-108 victory that gives Dallas its third straight win and also third straight game(and fourth game in five) with at least 120 points.
THE MAVERICK OFFENSE IS WARM
The 69 point first half explosion was a seasons best, and it's no fluke: this is the best sustained stretch this offense has had so far. Early on, even as the team was winning games, many had pointed out how inconsistent this ostensibly talented roster had been shooting the ball. The looks were good and ball movement crisp, but the shots just weren't falling on a night by night basis. While we shouldn't overreact to what has been a fairly easy schedule since the All-Star Break ended, let's enjoy the fun. Dallas had five guys score at least 17 points: Parsons, Zaza, Dirk, Barea and Wes Matthews, who had a team high 21. As a group the Mavs shot over 55% from the field, 41% from three, and most surprisingly, they racked up 26 of 31 free throws.
HAS THE REAL WES MATTHEWS STOOD UP?
As mentioned, Matthews led all Mavs with 21 points, giving him five straight games with at least 15 points. Since the last time Dallas played Orlando, Matthews has been on fire, shooting just under 52% overall and 46% from three. Matthews didn't really have the longball going tonight, surprisingly, but in testament to how well he's going, he managed to still shoot 8-12, thanks to some nice drives, some postup looks, and a couple of pretty step-backs. You get an idea of how dangerous this team can be when they have that extra dimension Matthews brings shooting the ball and punishing smaller opponents one on one.
DAVID LEE CONTINUES TO MAKE PRESENCE FELT
Rick Carlisle has a tendency to ride the hot hand a bit, so who knows how long this will last, but right now its looking like David Lee has taken the mantle as first big off the bench and ran with it. He had 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks in 14 minutes(he was +10 as well), and moreso than the numbers its been impressive to see how quickly he's clicked with the second unit. You knew from watching him throughout his career that he could pass the ball, and knew where to be on the floor, but his transition into the rotation has been pretty seamless. He already seems to have a nice rapport with Ray Felton on pick and roll action, and when he's not hustling for rebounds and rim-running, he's moving the ball to the open guy like he's been on this team for years. Lee clearly had something to prove when he left Boston and so far he's rewarded Dallas with his play.
So, Dallas gets a nice win, and moves to 4-1 on this six game homestand, which concludes Thursday against the Sacramento Kings. Then, after a quick stopover in Denver, the games get significantly tougher starting next Monday against the Clippers. That will start a stretch of nine straight games against teams with winning records, all currently projected to make the playoffs.